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US: Texas gives direct wine bill green light

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The US Wine Institute has applauded the decision this week by the Texas Governor Rick Perry to sign a bill that will effectively open the state up for direct shipments of wine.

Texas lawmakers overwhelmingly approved the bill earlier this month that allows out-of-state wineries to ship wine directly to Texas consumers, including those who live in "dry" areas.

Now signed into law by the governor, winemakers in California and elsewhere will no longer be required to sell through Texas retailers.

Wineries that buy a US$75 annual permit will instead be able to ship up to 3 gallons of wine every 30 days to individual customers, and as much as 35,000 gallons of wine a year state-wide. They will also be required to pay the same state taxes as Texas wineries.

The legislature is also considering a bill that would allow out-of-state wineries to offer samples in supermarkets, something only Texas winemakers can now do.

In late 2003, the Texas ABC declared that the state was "open" for direct shipments but ruled that all wineries must comply with existing wet/dry rules.

This compliance requirement, since it could not be delineated based on zip codes or other standard geographic boundaries, had stymied the efforts of wineries to ship to Texas consumers. SB 877 solves this problem by declaring the entire state "wet" for wine shipments.

"We applaud Governor Perry, Senator Madla and the entire Texas legislature for addressing this problem and opening up the great state of Texas to the legal, regulated direct shipping of wine to consumers," said Robert P. Koch, president and CEO of the Wine Institute.

"Declaring the entire state of Texas 'wet' for wine shipments is a strong signal of support for the local Texas wine industry and for consumer choice."


Sectors: Wine

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